“The Psychology of Success” session at the REW Summit in Austin


Whether you succeed or fail often has more to do with how you view an experience than your actual ability.  The world is full of high ability individuals that fail and those with less than impressive abilities that succeed.  Why does this happen?

I have always been a student of success.  I am interested in understanding why some people get it and some miss it even though their abilities seem to be very equal.  I was talking with Morgan, who is totally into this as well, and suggested we do a session on the Psychology of success at the REW Summit in Austin.  He agreed and so I will be hosting a session and panel at the Austin REW Summit this year to explore this topic and look at some of the internal strategies and keys our ultra successful clients have used to reach their high levels of business and personal achievement.  We're not talking  about the business processes they use but rather the internal thought processes that get them moving each day and the values and beliefs that sustain them when things are rocky and keep them on track even when the future may not seem that bright.  I believe success leaves clues and it is always easier to follow a well-proven plan then to try to “recreate the wheel”.. 

Taking Control

As I prepare for the panel I want to share a few ideas with you to think about that definitely impact my personal and business life.  They are basically the fact that (1) how we view the world and our life experience is arbitrary, and (2) we have the ability to change and manage that view.  

What this means simply is that if you have ineffective paradigms, thoughts or strategies running around in your mind, you have the ability to choose new ones.  That is why spending time with those who have reached high levels of success is so important.  We need to understand how their way of viewing things may be different than ours.

Our Filters

Here’s another way of looking at it.  Everybody has filters they use to interpret each life experience.  These filters are created from our life experiences, our genetics, our physical state, our intelligence etc.  If you look at the diagram below you see that as each of us experiences things in life, whatever it may be, we see it and evaluate it through our own perceptions or prism.  We see, hear, and feel something and how this experience or event is represented within our own personal construct will determine what we do with this experience and how we will react.

Successful and happy people are masters of this process.  You know who they are.  No matter what they seem to face they do it in a way where they can move forward.  Maybe that means taking one step back to take two steps forward but they are continually progressing.  They are the ones turning lemons into lemonade.  They are the glass half full people.


The little diagram above illustrates several key ideas core to what we will explore during our panel discussion:

1. Every moment of our life there is some physical reality or experience we are dealing with.

2. Each person experiences each moment based on their own perceptions and filters.

3. How a person perceives each event will determine how they react and feel.

4. Successful and positive people have internal beliefs and processes that allow them to deal with and manage external experiences in a positive way.

5. Each of us has the ability to choose and control how we interpret and react to our life experiences.

You've probably heard the old expression attributed to Henry Ford, "Whether you think you can or cannot, you are right!"

Choose Your Own Filter – Pick a Positive/Successful One!

Unfortunately, most of our filters or ways of evaluating the world and the experiences we face each day were not chosen as adults. Rather, we all have them courtesy of our parents, churches, schools, friends, the media, etc.  This means, if we didn't have perfect role models and who did, that some of our filters may not be serving us.

Think for a minute what camera filters are like and you have a good idea what mind filters are like as well. Filters change the way things actually look on a camera to obtain a certain effect.  If we put a yellow filter on it might brighten the day.  If we put on a red filter it might create an intensity that didn’t exist in reality.  If you put on a wide-angle lens it might stretch things out, or a fish eye lens might distort things.  If we put enough filters on all at once we would blot out the view altogether so that it looked nothing like the reality it is. 

Isn’t this what we do every day of our lives to some degree?  Don’t we see our life through filters most of the time so that what we are looking at is not really “what is”.  Rather it is what is “interpreted” or “perceived”.  

If you look back at the simple diagram it shows an arrow representing a life experience which could be anything. In business it could be a lost deal, an employee who jumps ship or a new competitor that is taking market share.  The point is, whatever the experience is, it will be seen differently for different people depending on their own internal beliefs and filters. For most of us our filters/view distort reality in some way and as you can see by the faces to the right of the prism the very same experience may cause a totally different reaction in different people.  What one person finds as funny another might find annoying.  What shuts one person down may actually drive another forward!  Our view is not necessarily right and accurate while another view is wrong and inaccurate.  Think of two people on a roller coaster.  One person thinks it’s great and exciting and another is terrified.  It is the same  “physical experience” being viewed differently.  Neither is right, but one is sure more fun and in business positive views are certainly more productive.

Successful, positive people all seem to have a way of looking at things that keeps them on an even keel moving forward.  These personal philosophies and belief systems can be seen throughout successful organizations and they start at the top.   During our session we will explore the types of values, beliefs and strategies our panelists use and promote within their own businesses that have helped them in their success.  Hopefully you will hear some ideas, strategies and ways of dealing with challenges that can help you improve your own.

I hope you can make it to the Summit and I look forward to exploring these ideas with you during our Success Session



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